Why We Buy Cards Despite All of This Anxiety:
With all of this considered, why do we buy cards at all? They’re expensive, impersonal, and generally speaking make us uncomfortable, yet we feel compelled. One may say that it’s their artistic value that makes us want to keep them around, but why not just write a letter on nice looking paper? The real reason we buy cards is because they’re clever, but that clever isn’t our’s, its someone else’s. We’ve outsourced even our most intimate sentiments to those “experts,” the clever writers locked away in some cramped warehouse, who are just “better at explaining than us.” While this may be true, it doesn’t really change the fact that we’ve removed ourselves from the gift entirely.
Having another man recite a beautiful poem to your lover and then saying “that’s what I would have said if I was clever like him,” doesn’t really seem to cut it. And neither does giving a card that’s “clever” instead of just giving a letter, even a letter which is written by you. Yet we, for whatever reason, would rather give someone something impersonal, external, and “objectively” clever, than something personal and kind of stupid.
Ask yourself, in all seriousness, which is more important and meaningful; a clever remark from a sarcastic dog on a piece of nice card-stock, one of half a million exactly like it, or a half-coherent, misspelled, and almost illegible, letter written by a child with the utmost personal sincerity in marker on construction paper?